King's Day festival

King's Day festival – in 15 facts and numbers

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King's Day festival is perhaps the world's biggest monarch party and certainly the craziest. Learn more about the unique King's Day festival – in 15 facts and numbers.

1. It is against the law to carry more than one alcoholic beverage per person at any time during the King's Day festival, including boat partiers.

2. King's Day festival is one of the world's biggest parties celebrating a monarch. King's Day is held every year on the monarch's birthday – currently King Willem-Alexander's birthday on 27 April – to allow residents in the Netherlands to celebrate in full style.

3. When the king's birthday falls on a Sunday, celebrations are moved to the previous day, as was the case in 2014.

4. In 2014 the Netherlands celebrated the first King's Day festival in 123 years; it was previously celebrated as Queen's Day (Koninginnedag), in honour of a long succession of female Dutch monarchs.

5. The first Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) started on 31 August 1885 to honour Queen Wilhelmina's birthday, and in 1949 switched to 30 April when Queen Juliana took the throne. Queen Beatrix kept her mother's birthday until she absconded in 2013, which certainly heatened up the celebrations seeing Beatrix's real birthday falls on 31 January – in the middle of winter.

6. Most countries celebrate their monarchs with pomp and parades, but the Dutch dress up in wacky costumes instead to honour the Dutch royal family – the House of Orange-Nassau. The crazier the better, from oranje wigs and crowns to body paint and tutus.

7. Tompouce, a sweet Dutch pastry filled with cream, are made especially orange for the King’s Day festival. It's the sweet of the day, with sales increasing some 600 percent on King's Day festival alone.

8. King's Day festivities are so beloved by the Dutch that celebrations have spilled over to the night before (26 April). Koningsnacht, or King’s Day night, is when public squares blast out music and other entertainment, clubs book hot DJs and bars, pubs and canals fill with revellers, some who go on to King's Day festival the next day. Read how to celebrate King's Day in the Netherlands.

9. Every year, locals can get the chance to see the royal entourage, which visits a specially selected town or municipality in the Netherlands as part of the King's Day festival.

10. King's Day in Amsterdam is by far the biggest festival in the country, when the city's numbers swell by between 600,000 to 1 million people, double than any other day. Public transport in central areas is typically cut to squeeze in the extra crowds, and every possible space is filled with partiers from balconies to canals. Read how to survive Koningsdag

11. Patience is the keyword for King's Day festivities, especially King's Day in Amsterdam where it's estimated some 250,000 arrive on the train alone.

12. King's Day festival is also the one day of the year where non-licenced sellers can hock their goods in public spaces, essentially turning cities around the Netherlands into citywide flea markets (vrijmarkt). The average street-seller reportedly earns around EUR 90 from selling off old toys, unused goods or even games of chance.

13. Parties and events are held in a variety of locations, which reportedly sell a total of more than some 100,000 tickets, while revellers drink their way through some 500,000 eco-cups.

14. King's Day festival is a public holiday, meaning banks, post offices and many shops are closed up for the day.

15. While private parties extend long into the night, music, flea markets and the sale of beer in public are shut down by 8pm at the latest.

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